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  • Writer's pictureOLIP Interns

Our Meeting with Former Premier Ernie Eves

In the spring, we had the pleasure of meeting with former Premier Ernie Eves. Although he was Premier for only 18 months, it was a very eventful time. He was Premier during the SARS Crisis, the Northeast Blackout and the Mad Cow Disease Crisis. During these crises, he told us that he leaned on his educated Ministers and staff that knew more about public health and energy grids than he did to make sure people were well informed during times of distress. His time as Premier was short but his work as an MPP, Ministers, and Premier amounted to 24 years of public service. Despite having the privilege of being Premier, he said that his favourite time at Queen’s Park was his time as Minister of Finance. He found that it was the most rewarding and the best way to get to know the people of Ontario and the industries of the province.  

When asked about his proudest moment, Eves surprised us by sharing that it was his creation of the Justin Eves Foundation, in his son’s memory, that helps students with learning disabilities pursue post-secondary education. Justin was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child and completed his university degree in Boston. In this school, he was given a mentor that supported his needs and helped him to thrive in higher education. Mr. Eves saw the benefit of this program for his son that fostered a mentoring environment and created the foundation to do the same for other students. Justin Eves tragically passed away in a car accident in 1995, so the foundation lives on in memory of him. The foundation will now create 10 permanent scholarships for students with learning disabilities at the University of Guelph, cementing the legacy of Justin Eves at this university for future students.  

During our time with us, Ernie Eves reminded us about the importance of “doing the right thing” in our work and if we ever “had the opportunity to change the world, we should seize it”. We thank Mr. Eves for his time with us and were so grateful for the opportunity to meet with another former Premier! Our time with Mr. Eves reminded us of the distinct position of Premier and the unique opportunity we have as interns to learn from people across the aisle who were and are striving to make Ontario better.  

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